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Elderly African-Americans face high risk of abuse

Recent research by the National Center on Elder Abuse indicates that elderly African American people may have a higher chance of being abused by a caregiver.

Elder abuse is a concerning problem in America. Now, new research gives Alabama residents even more to think about when providing care for their elderly relatives. A study conducted by the National Center for Elder Abuse indicates that the prevalence of psychological abuse of elders is greater for African Americans than it is for non-African Americans.

A report notes that over 24 percent of African Americans over the age of 60 say they have been abused psychologically. For non-African Americans, that number is 13 percent.

What is psychological abuse?

Psychological abuse of an elder can take many forms including being kept in isolation away from friends, family and other support systems. Being ignored and being treated disrespectfully can also be abusive. Verbally humiliating, threatening and insulting a person are also types of psychological abuse.

Why African Americans may experience more abuse

Challenges that Africans Americans face in developing the financial resources necessary to provide proper care to elderly persons are noted as a factor in the increased level of abuse. Lack of opportunity puts stress on individuals and families alike and can open the door to abusers. Institutionalized racism at both individual and community levels is also noted to contribute to the abuse problem for elderly African Americans.

Dementia adds another level of risk

Another study noted that people with dementia are also at a higher risk for being abused than those without dementia. This report indicated that over 47 percent of dementia patients suffered abuse at the hands of a caregiver. The lion’s share of that abuse was in the form of verbal abuse. Neglect and physical abuse were also identified as contributing factors in some of the abuse.

Elder abuse in Alabama

Despite the common reaction to assume that elder abuse only happens to other people, Alabama residents cannot afford to think that. A care facility in Trussville recently closed its doors due to a series of incidents in which multiple residents were abused and injured. The complaints led Medicaid to rescind funding, forcing the home to cease operations.

At least three complaints involved patient falls, one resulting in a broken bone and two resulting in head injuries. Another complaint alleged that a staff member failed to respond appropriately to an active sexual assault on a resident. Approximately 80 people who had been living in the home were given mere weeks to find a new place to live.

What families should know

People with elderly relatives in need of care should always be on the lookout for warning signs of abuse. Taking action promptly is encouraged and should including talking to an attorney for help to protect their loved ones.